About 1,620 patients are hospitalized with COVID-19 across AdventHealth’s Central Florida hospitals, a new high in the surge that began last month.
“This is unfortunately a crisis of unprecedented proportions,” said Dr. Vincent Hsu, executive director of infection prevention and epidemiologist, on today’s AdventHealth Morning Briefing. “This is two times the amount of COVID patients we had during the winter peak.”
Hsu said AdventHealth has extensive and sophisticated plans that have been put into place to adjust to care for more patients in recent weeks such as deferring non-emergent elective surgeries and repurposing beds in procedure areas for sick patients and expanding ICUs into other parts of the hospital.
He noted the trends, though, show some positive signs.
“We do see some light at the end of the tunnel,” Hsu said. “The growth that we have is slowing … we can still avert a worsening of the surge with vaccination, wearing masks and distancing whenever possible.”
Hsu said people who are immunosuppressed such as transplant patients or those undergoing cancer treatment are eligible for a third dose of the vaccine now.
Booster doses for the general population are expected to be available late next month. The boosters are the same doses as the original two shots provided by Pfizer and Moderna, but are intended to increase protection against the virus after immunity from the first shots could have waned in some people.
The vaccine continues to be highly effective at preventing COVID-19 hospitalizations and death. The boosters are intended to help prevent even mild infections, which would also reduce the spread of the virus and help end the pandemic.
Hsu also encouraged the community to get flu shots this year and said it’s possible to get flu and COVID inoculations at the same time.
“We are expecting this will be a significant flu season,” he said.